Anson County Relay for Life raised more than $9,000 over its goal by the evening of the event on Friday, May 19. But for one planning committee member, the event is more than a fundraiser.
This year, the committee set its goal at $32,500. According to the Relay for Life website, Anson County raised a total of $41,598.36.
Amy Turner, a member of the county Relay committee, said that she is expecting some funds that teams raised but have not yet turned in to come through, which will likely push that amount even higher.
For Turner, the Relay is a time to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, but also a time to meet cancer survivors and their caretakers and to honor those who lost their battle.
One survivor, James Hubbard, was given a survivor’s sash, a new item this year.
“He was so overcome with emotion when we put that survivor sash on him,” Turner said. “He went all to pieces.”
Turner said that she is unsure what Hubbard’s battle was against, but she knew he appreciated the event.
“He said how much he enjoyed people organizing and participating in Relay for Life,” Turner said. “Those sashes, they’re something new we’ve done this year.” Both survivors and caregivers were given sashes.
Turner also appreciated the large turnout.
“The crowd this time was extraordinary,” she said. “I don’t remember having this many people in years.”
The committee offered more to do this year. The standard Relay program includes an opening ceremony, survivor’s lap around the track, caregiver’s lap, teams’ lap, Luminaria lighting and closing ceremony, as well as activities for participants to do when they’re not walking the track.
Last year, the Relay had a bouncy house for children and some people selling food. This year, there was a “kid zone” complete with the bouncy house, games and prizes, and an inflatable slide. The majority of the fundraising teams also sold food. At the end of the event, there was a balloon release.
Turner said the Anson Relay sold at least 175 to 200 Luminarias — bags and candles lit in remembrance of those who have died fighting cancer, those who are currently fighting it or those who won their battle. She estimated that there were at least 40 survivors present.
In the next two weeks or so, the last of the fundraising money should be in and the county will have a final total of the amount raised this year. Knowing that the county exceeded its goal was exciting, but Turner said she was happy to hear Anson did even better than that.
“We were the first county in the state to reach our goal before the actual Relay night, the event night,” she said. “And on the event night, right now, we have almost $42,000. It is awesome.”
As of 11:15 p.m. Friday, Anson County Schools was listed as the top team with $22,331 in contributions. State Employees Credit Union had $3,475, and the third top team was Meadowview Terrace with $2,580 in contributions.
The top participant listed on the county’s page was Turner with $1,596 raised. Debbie Hildreth followed with $1,100 and Chris Turner had raised $1,050.
Turner served on the planning committee along with Van Pham, Anne Hyatt, Denise Robinson and Elizabeth Kersey. The committee worked hard to keep its usual list of teams and sponsors, as well as to regain those who had helped before but hadn’t participated last year.
“It met all of our expectations this year,” Turner said. “It was wonderful.”
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.